New National Curriculum Objectives

In the New National Curriculum (2009) historical, geographical
and social understanding are grouped together.  Many of the objectives in these subjects involve investigating the local area.  There is also an emphasis on cross-curricular studies and topic work. 

Why this area of learning is important? (From DFEE site)
Historical, geographical and social understanding fires children’s curiosity and
imagination about who we are, where we have come from, where we live and
where we might be going next. It connects Britain’s past with the present and
the future, helps children make sense of our place in the world and is central
to their development as informed, active and responsible citizens.
This area of learning encourages children to investigate the world around them,
from the local to the global. They learn about the impact of their actions on the
planet and understand the importance of developing a future that is sustainable.
Through exploring cultures, beliefs, values, human rights and responsibilities,
children develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and a sense
of belonging. They see how societies are organised and shaped by people’s
values and actions, and how communities can live and work together.
Children learn about diversity and interdependence, fairness, justice and democracy.
They begin to understand how events that happened in Britain long ago or in other
countries can affect our lives today and how our actions shape the future.

1. Essential knowledge
Children should build secure knowledge of the following:
a. how the present has been shaped by the past, through developing a sense of
chronology, exploring change and continuity over time, and understanding why
and where things happened
b. how and why places and environments develop, how they can be sustained
and how they may change in the future
c. how identities develop, what we have in common, what makes us different
and how we organise ourselves and make decisions within communities
d. how people, communities and places are connected and can be
interdependent at a range of scales.

2. Key skills
These are the skills that children need to learn to make progress:
a. undertake investigations and enquiries, using various methods,
media and sources
b. compare, interpret and analyse different types of evidence from a range
of sources
c. present and communicate findings in a range of ways and develop arguments
and explanations using appropriate specialist vocabulary and techniques
d. consider, respond to and debate alternative viewpoints in order to take
informed and responsible action.
3. Cross-curricular studies
This area of learning should provide opportunities for:
a. children to develop and apply their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills
b. personal, emotional and social development
c. enhancing children’s historical, geographical and social understanding
through making links to other areas of learning and to wider issues of interest
and importance.
4. Breadth of learning
a. When exploring local, national and global contexts children should:
1. learn about the ways people, communities, places and environments have
changed over time, and how they are interconnected
2. develop and extend local and global links through communications
and collaboration tools.
b. Through the study of people and communities, children should:
1. find out about the main political and social institutions that affect their lives
2. find out about issues and take action to improve things in their communities
and make a positive contribution to society
3. engage with different representatives from the community
4. explore issues of justice, rights and responsibilities in their own contexts
and the wider world.
c. In the study of place and space children should:
1. use fieldwork, first-hand experience and secondary sources to locate and
investigate the geographical features of a range of places and environments,
including their own locality, a contrasting area in the UK and a different
locality in another country
2. learn about and develop informed views and opinions on local, national
and global issues such as sustainability, climate change, economic
inequality, and their impact on people, places and environments in the
past and the present.
d. The study of the past should include aspects of local, British and world
history. Children should:
1. study the past in outline and in depth, covering different societies and
periods of history from ancient times to modern day
2. use dates and vocabulary related to the passing of time
3. place events, people and changes within a broad chronological framework
4. use a range of sources of information and visit historic buildings,
museums, galleries and sites.